Emily and Phillip have been to see their favorite musical, Aurora (fictional), over a hundred times, borrowing money from Emily's Grandma Rose every weekend so they can stand in line to get the rush tickets. And then they find out that their show is closing.
For the most part, I get
these kids. The entire Aurora fanbase seems to be based on the RENTheads, and reminds me guiltily of my own Scarlet Pimpernel days. (Don't judge me.) If I lived in the NYC area, I would totally be on that rush line at least twice a month. But I just can't get borrowing something like $5000 out of your college fund to do so. But I totally buy that there are teenagers who would happily do that, especially with Emily's grandmother encouraging them. (You have to see your show when it's open, she tells her, and the musical fan in me nods in agreement even while the rest of me is yelling, "BUT WHAT ABOUT COLLEGE?!")
But. For all of their love of musicals, Phillip and Emily are bizarrely naive about the business aspect of Broadway. Emily (who is sixteen, mind) has to have it explained to her that there's no possible way that a Broadway show could be free to all and still, you know, run. And even after that explanation, she still needs to spend some serious thought and do some quick math before it really sinks in. You would think that somebody who is proud of knowing the exact budget of her show ($6.5 million to open, fairly modest for a big show) and knows some professional actors would have realized the money had to come from somewhere. Phillip, supposedly a numbers guy who reads the trade papers religiously, is equally clueless about what producers actually do. They're clueless to advance the plot, not because it makes sense for them to be. The big producer that shows up is impossible to accept as a successful producer of profitable shows, (his ideas sound like something from The Producers) but since the author has Broadway experience I took him as the author venting.
Will any of that bother people who aren't Broadway fans? Maybe not. But nobody who isn't a fan of musical theater would read this anyway. I wouldn't have liked it as well as I did if I didn't identify, in some ways, with Emily and Phillip. If you aren't, you'll be bothered by the thin plot, the way the characters never really develop and grow, and all those theater references. I was, too, a little, but not enough for me to dislike a book written for my kind of theater geek, the ones in the audience.